Tennessee’s Prohibition of Turtle Sales Repealed

July 6, 2016

Effective June 21, 2016, the Tennessee Department of Health amended Chapter 1200-14-01-.36 of Tennessee Code (Sale of Turtles Prohibited) to allow for the sale of some turtles for the first time since 1977.

Turtles may be sold if the carapace length is 4 inches or more and they are not sold to anyone less than 18 years of age.

Turtles are still restricted from pre-kindergarten schools, daycare centers and childcare centers.

The amendments also establish guidelines that allow the Commissioner of Health to:

  • Remove, destroy, quarantine, or take any appropriate samples of the turtle if the turtle is unlawfully imported, sold or is contaminated with salmonella or other organisms which may cause or have caused disease;
  • Provide a caution statement to deter and alert parents and people with weak immune systems to the health risks associated with turtles;
  • Require receipts containing the caution statement to be provided to the buyer by the seller of the turtles, and require sellers to keep track of their acquisitions and dispositions of turtles.


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